Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Few Thoughts at Christmas 2017

I feel very blessed to be happy & eager about Christmas. One present that is constant is my wonderful wife, Julie. She will be off work from December 22 thru New Year's Day.We have a special Christmas & Holiday Season in general planned but nothing will top simply enjoying time together.

I also look forward to unplugging from social media for a few days. The first of the year will be busy enough with the release of The Preacher's Letter on January 9.

This is a different type of blog than I usually write. It is just some thoughts to share. Please don't take them as being written to you but rather this is about us. Anything I write it is a safe bet to say that I struggle with the same, or I have at one time, or I will in the future.

1. Hate- Let's do away with this word regardless of how strongly our opinions can be.

2.  Church Leadership- It is easy to criticize those in leadership roles in our churches. Let's pray for our leaders far more than we find fault with them.

"Criticizing others is not a calling. What are you doing to help and serve others?"
Louie Giglio

3.Social Media- We don't have to engage in endless arguments that solve nothing. I am no different in that I read something that makes me irate & I can't tell you how many times I have typed the comment & before hitting the send button the common sense portion of my brain kicks in & I have to ask what if anything am I going to accomplish.

4. Before-  If you insist on ignoring #3 at least read & listen thoroughly before responding & verify your so called facts before issuing them. Don't use them as facts simply because they line up with your point of view.

5. Introspection- Be able to look inside & search yourself before going on the attack. I find it always helpful in any source of conflict to ask God how I might proceed. And always give yourself plenty of room to be wrong.

6. Name Calling- Don't resort to name calling just because someone does not see things the way you do.

7. Division-  We live in a very divided country. It is not the sole fault of one political party. It is the fault of both. But we don't have to allow it to divide us as a neighborhood, work place, church..etc One of my favorite quotes. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

8.Fairness-  If we could care more about being fair than being right we can really put a dent in #7. No one wins an argument.

9. One- Never underestimate what we as one person can do.

10. Kindness- It doesn't have to be something big. You never know what a kind word or smile can mean to someone who is suffering. I have suffered mightily in my life at times with depression. Trust me when I tell you how much it means when someone is kind to you. It is a light in the darkest of places. Encourage others. It is the greatest of the spiritual gifts.

11. Dismissive- Don't be dismissive of others just because it is not part of your world.

12. Understanding- Try to understand someone's viewpoint even if you disagree. Your opinion is just that. Don't mistake it for truth. Warning- This could lead to real conversation.

13. Grow- Regardless of our age- never cease trying to grow.

14. Simple- The simple things in life are truly the most valuable. A dog that insists on touching you while she sleeps. A sunset over the nearby river. The quietness of the beach that you find this time of year. Sometimes while walking Teke in the woods at the nearby State Park I will stop & just listen to the stillness. Holding hands in church or anywhere else with your spouse.

15. Peace- If you have this there is not anything I can think of that is worth giving it up for. Let the conflict go. Life is fast paced enough. Hold on to any stillness that you may be blessed enough to enjoy.
Hebrews 12:24 Pursue peace with everyone...

16. Competition- Run your own race. Don't waste time measuring yourself against others. 

17. God hurt me. No, He did not. It was probably some religious person or even a wayward church that caused the pain. Don't judge God by them. 

18.  One thing-  If there was one thing I would want people to understand about Jesus Christ. It is about relationship not religion. Your head knowledge of religion will always miss the mark. How is your heart? 

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The last scripture. It does not say you will find me by perfect church attendance. By living a certain way. By following a set of rituals.  


May God's peace that passes all understanding flow down on you without measure.

Merry Christmas 
Billy, Julie, & Teke



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Inspiration: Christmas Reflections

December 10, 2017

Christmas Reflections
By, Billy Beasley

Christmas proves to be a time of reflection for most of us. Christmas memories tug at our heartstrings and those that are no longer with us frequent our thoughts more often.

There was a time I truly hated Christmas. It was a memory that I even wrote in a story about a character that finds his solace during the Holiday season to escape to an isolated cabin in the mountains. I never did that but I wanted to.

That is not the case now. I love Christmas. I love that my wife, Julie transforms from a woman in her forties to a small child.

The Christmas movies, songs, and shopping for the tree. The photos and picking that perfect shot for your personalized Christmas card. Yes, I am even part of one of those families now.

What stands out to me this Christmas, as I reflect back over this year and my life in general, is if you would have told me that at age twenty, thirty, or even a few years ago that my best year would be the year I turned sixty-one-I would have asked if you had temporarily taken leave of your sanity.

But it is true that while I am in the Fall of my life this has proven to be the most happy and peaceful year of my life. There are several factors that add up to this being the best one yet. One very nice luxury is that for the first time since I was fourteen years old I did not work a job at anytime this year. Julie and I decided late last year that rather than continuing to work low paying jobs that I did not really derive satisfaction from that it was better to supplement my pension with some savings and enjoy life.   

I even have enjoyed a year in which, thanks to a mild winter, I was able for the first time in my life to take pleasure in the beach days at Carolina Beach, every month of the year. I even found it warm enough to venture into the ocean on those days.

Julie and I also have enjoyed our best year of marriage. We look forward to celebrating our fifth anniversary next April by returning to the same cabin we honeymooned in. All our years have been good but this is the best.

We have fewer arguments and we know each other better. Julie would add that we have learned to fight fair. Now, if I have disappointed any of you by sharing that our wonderful marriage is not always perfect than I apologize. It is really good and I am happier with Julie than I ever dreamed I could be in a relationship.

Despite my rocky road in life in regards to relationships I am not surprised that we have such a good marriage. I took comfort going into it that we had two wonderful things in our favor. We both did not seek our happiness in each other. That is too big to put on anyone, anyone but our Father that is. He was and still is first in our lives. I also knew that we understood what was important in this life. That it was truly the simple things in life that count so much more than chasing things. The trappings of this world, be it bigger houses, fancier cars, larger bank accounts will never bring you peace and happiness. You will enjoy them for a season but soon you will desire something bigger, faster, sleeker, and younger. It is like the hamster on the wheel. Running relentlessly but winding up in the same place.

And while not being tied to a job I don’t care for, or enjoying my wonderful wife, and being free to enjoy working with our dog, Teke—she and I are in the Park woods, near our home, so much that the staff knows us by name.

Add in the unseasonably warm beach days that I have enjoyed. All of this is not the main reason for this year being the happiest and most peaceful.

It would be because this was the year I allowed God to stretch me spiritually to places that at the beginning of this year I would have said, “No way. I am not going there. I am not your man, God.”  

I would have stood by this being the best year of my life even without something occurring late in the year that has been so important for so long. The second paragraph of this column, I mentioned a character that chose to hide in the mountains during the Holidays. It is no longer just a story but a story that a publisher has said yes to. The Preacher’s Letter will be traditionally published next month.

I get out of sorts at times and my wife always wants to know why. Lately, during those times she has quizzed me. “Is it about the book?” And I can scarcely believe I can honestly answer each time, “No.” I will work at it and give it my best chance for success but ultimately God holds the final decision on where it goes or does not go and I am okay with that.

Because even if The Preacher’s Letter sells thousands of copies and is turned into a major motion film, it will not alter the following. I am happy. I am at peace. I am loved. What more does a man really require?

Meet the Author

Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke.  They are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC.

Billy is the author of The River Hideaway- a traditionally published work of faith based fiction. He shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in this novel. Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’. 

Like his author page on Facebook. Check out his blog. Also, you can follow him on Twitter.

You can read Billy's "Sunday Inspiration" column here at Pandora's Box Gazette the 2nd Sunday each month.